Portsmouth residents set to stage protest against 'terrifying' Aquind cable plans

CAMPAIGNERS ‘terrified’ at the prospect of a company snapping up land rights and causing havoc installing electric cables through Portsmouth are staging a protest.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 5:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th October 2020, 5:57 pm
Drone pictures of allotments at Milton and the shoreline. Picture: Solent Sky Services

Opponents to Aquind’s £1.2bn undersea cable and interconnector project, currently being examined by the Planning Inspectorate, will meet on Saturday to make a stand.

They hope enough people will turn up to line the shore at Milton in a static protest against the scheme, bringing electricity from France to Eastney, and then up to Lovedean.

It comes as The News revealed Portsmouth City Council has earmarked £250,000 to fight the scheme.

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GVs of Milton Allotments, Milton. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Former teacher Viola Langley, 57, who set up a Facebook group opposing the plans that has rapidly grown, said when the first consultation was launched in 2018 the bid was ‘very difficult to understand’ and years away, so not many took notice.

But now she said people were ‘terrified’ about how Aquind’s plan may disrupt the city.

‘We can’t let this happen,’ she said. ‘I know that the residents are terrified.’

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Milton-based Viola added: ‘Quite a lot of residents are really concerned - I would definitely say to them join us, come on Facebook, keep writing objections.’

Anyone wanting to take part should meet at 1pm on Saturday at one of three locations - the eastern end of Kingsley Road in the grass area, the Thatched House pub car park, or the People’s Memorial at Eastern Road.

Socially-distanced groups will form a human chain for a drone photo at 2pm along the shoreline, organisers hope.

Aquind has been branded ‘draconian’ in its move to snap up swathes of access rights along the underground cable route up to Lovedean.

The firm insists it will boost British energy security and create thousands of jobs.

Childminder Leah Wain, 45, is concerned about any damage to Milton Common, and her allotment at Milton Piece, where she takes children in her care to teach them.

Cables are due to go under the common, and an Aquind spokesman previously said there would be no disturbance on the surface level of the allotments.

Access rights are needed for paths and roads but not plots, he said.

Mum-of-two Leah, of Southsea, wants to see ‘as many as we can’ at the protest and added: ‘Put it somewhere else or don’t do it.’

See the campaign’s Facebook page by searching Let’s Stop Aquind. The group has more than 700 members after being set up on Friday.

Aquind has now admitted plans showing it wants access rights to allotment plots was wrong, and has been corrected.

An Aquind spokesman said 'engagement with representatives' of allotment holders continues.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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